There’s more to cleaning your kitchen for spring than getting out your mop and broom. Taking some time to organize the foods in your cabinets, fridge and freezer can make a big difference in how you eat. The easier it is to grab healthy choices, the more likely they are to end up on your plate.
Here are some simple ways to spruce up your kitchen for spring.
Clean your cupboards
- Keep everyday foods at eye level: Shelf-stable whole foods like beans, whole grains, dried fruits, canned fish and similar items should go front and center.
- Shift back “occasional” foods: Certain items like jerky or canned olives are relatively nutritious. But they are not everyday foods due to high sodium levels. These foods can go in the back or on a higher shelf.
- Reach for the treats: It’s okay to keep foods like chocolate and cookies in the house. In fact, moderate servings of treats can help keep you on track. But it’s better to keep them out of sight so you reach for them mindfully and not by reflex. A high shelf or all the way in the back is the perfect spot.
Reorganize your refrigerator
- Balance your fridge: Make sure you are buying foods in the same ratio in which you aim to eat them. The balanced plate can be a great model for your fridge, too—try to fill it with 50% non-starchy veggies, 25% lean protein and 25% carbs.
- Position the produce: Keep fruits and veggies at eye level. This way they’re the first thing you see when you open the door. Sliced carrots, celery sticks and bell pepper slices stored in clear containers make for tasty, healthy snacks.
- Load the door with flavor: Store extras and flavor boosters like mustard, ketchup and barbecue sauce on the shelves in the refrigerator door. This keeps them out of the way to leave plenty of room for whole foods like fruits and veggies.
- Repurpose the crisper: There’s no rule that says you must keep only leafy greens in the crisper. You can also store treat foods there. That way, they’re not top-of-mind when you open the fridge.
Free up your freezer
- Do a deep clean: Freezers can keep food safe to eat for a very long time. Some freezers may contain years-old leftovers. It’s helpful to do a good clean-out at least once a year to make sure you have space for the foods you need.
- Put produce front and center: Frozen fruits and veggies are some of the best foods to keep handy. And they’re just as (if not more) nutritious as fresh ones! Load up on your favorites and quickly steam them in the microwave for an easy side dish.
- Make room for make-ahead meals: A fresh-cooked dinner is not always in the cards. It’s a good thing you now have room in your freezer! Prep and freeze some healthy meals like soup or chili so that you can use them in a pinch. You can also keep some healthier store-bought, lower-sodium frozen entrées. Look for ones that contain 600 mg of sodium or less per serving.
- Back up for treats: Portion-controlled frozen treats like ice cream sandwiches or popsicles are perfect for satisfying a sweet craving. Just be sure to keep them in the back of the freezer so you can enjoy them mindfully.
The meals on our plate not only keep hunger at bay, they do so much more. Here are the ways the food you eat fuels your mind, body and soul.
Published April 03 2023